In the Summer of 1999, a young man, just finished with high school and looking forward to his college career, attended a youth service with some of his friends. In the middle of his sermon, the preacher suddenly stopped and said,”There is a young man here, already planning to go to college, that God is calling you to give up your plans and dreams and go to Bible college and serve Him.”
The boy did have plans and dreams. He loved working with computers, and after finishing college, that would be his life’s work.
But he felt the tug and call that evening. After a lengthy time of prayer around the altar, he went home and told his mother and pastor that God wanted him to go to Bible college.
College started in just two weeks. But in those two weeks, the young man was able to get admitted to Bible school, find the money to move a few hundred miles, and get all settled in. Although he was giving up his lifelong dream of pursuing a computer science degree, he was happy with his decision and was excited about his future.
As the semesters rolled by, his involvement in the ministry deepened. He spoke at a few events. A pastor invited him to work with his youth ministry team. He was busy almost every weekend.
His love for computers still hung around. He convinced the administration to let him install internet service to the whole dorm. He helped his instructors with their computer issues. He even developed a few websites for churches.
When he graduated, the college asked him to go to work for them. He taught a few classes. And installed a network that connected all the school’s computers.
After a few years, he felt God calling him to move on. He became a Youth Pastor. He was part of a singing group. He was part of the pastoral team at yet another church. All the while, he kept fiddling with computers.
Somewhere along the way, he felt God’s tug to move to Seattle and establish a church. Not having the connections or the resources, he kept the dream burning quietly in the back of his heart. He led a congregation for a while. He and his wife held revivals. And there was always a computer close by.
He frequently scoured the online news and websites for news about Seattle. He even applied for a few jobs that piqued his interest – usually things that involved computers and required that degree he never earned.
One Tuesday morning, he received an email notice that his resume’ had been reviewed and he was scheduled for a job interview that coming Thursday. In Seattle. In two days. The problem? He was living a couple thousand miles away. But when Thursday arrived, he was in Seattle.
That was three years ago and he is still there. Starting a church in the heart of downtown. He teaches a Bible study in a high-rise apartment, and leads a service downtown on Sundays. He’s had Bible studies in coffeeshops and in the apartment he lives in – just a few steps from the waterfront and the famous Pike Place.
Guess how he pays the rent on his apartment? He works for a computer company doing things that back in 1999 nobody had a clue would be big business. And he can do it from anywhere in the world. It just so happens that right now God is letting him do it in heart of the city that he has always loved.
Sometimes God calls us to give up our dreams because He knows that better ones wait down the road. Those who chose to follow Him will never be disappointed.
So, I am in Seattle this week. This Sunday will mark the one year anniversary of my nephew holding services in the Belltown Community Center in downtown Seattle. My wife and I will be there.
I’m not sure who all will be there, but I am confident that God will be. After all, He set this all up more than fifteen years ago. I can’t imagine Him missing it.